Dakin’s Solution – An Old Homemade Antiseptic Revised For Today

Dakin's Solution – A Homemade Antiseptic  Dakin’s solution is an antiseptic solution developed during World War I to treat infected wounds. It is a viable solution that is being used even today and it’s a perfect homemade antiseptic for preppers and survivalists.

Dakin’s solution is an antiseptic solution containing sodium hypochlorite (ordinary household bleach) and water. Dakin’s solution is not the only antiseptic available, and on the market, you can find stronger germicidal solutions, like the ones containing carbolic acid (phenol) or iodine.

These solutions can be purchased and used to prevent infections, but they have a downside. Stronger solutions can damage living cells or lose their potency in the presence of blood. You should know that Dakin’s solution does neither and this is why it’s indicated as an excellent antiseptic.

Where did Dakin’s solution come from?

It all started with Henry Drysdale Dakin, a brilliant English chemist, and his work on amino acids and water analysis. He studied chemistry at the University of Leeds and he managed to get his Ph.D. under the supervision of the great Christian Herter.

In 1914, Dakin offered his service with the war effort and he proved to be a valuable asset. He worked at a temporary hospital in Compiegne in 1916; the time when he invented the Dakin’s solution as a wound treatment. Dakin’s solution was an unstable highly diluted antiseptic that was used to irrigate the wound intermittently.

Sodium hypochlorite had already been developed as a bleaching agent around 1820. However, it was far too strong to be used as a human antiseptic solution at that time. The original use of the solution was in hospitals, slaughterhouses, and all other industries that dealt with animal products.

Since the solution deteriorates after six hours, it must be made as needed. Based on his discoveries, a modified and more stable Dakin solution was invented.

Why should one make Dakin’s solution?

Dakin’s solution is easy to make and as a prepper, you should already have all the needed ingredients. Besides being an excellent homemade antiseptic, it also acts as a solvent to dead cells and hastens the separation of dead from living tissue.

Dakin’s solution is prepared by passing chlorine into a solution of sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate. It can be used on humans without any risk and it can also be used on animals. It does not sting or burn as you might expect and it’s a proven solution that has been credited with saving thousands of lives since War World I.

Related reading: Amazing Benefits and Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide

How to make Dakin’s Solution:

You will need the following equipment: a sterile jar with a sterile lid, a clean pan with a lid and sterile measuring spoons and cups. As for the ingredients, you will need water, baking soda, and bleach. You should already have these components in your home as they are essential emergency preparedness supplies.

Once you have all the equipment ready and you gathered the needed ingredients it’s time to get to work.

Making the Actual solution:

  • Measure out 32 ounces (4 cups) of tap water. Pour the water into the clean pan you prepared.
  • Boil the water for 15 minutes with the lid on the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Using the sterile measuring spoon, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the boiled water.
  • Now it’s time to add bleach and complete the Dakin’s solution. You can make one of the several strengths and you should measure bleach according to the chart below.Prepper's Will - Dakin's Solution Strenght ratio
  • Once the Dakin’s solution is done, place it in the sterile jar and close it tightly with the lid.
  • Make sure you label the jar and write the date and time when the Dakin’s solution was made.

You should store Dakin’s solution at room temperature, tightly sealed and away from light. You should make sure to sterilize everything and wash your hands with water and soap before you make Dakin’s solution. Cleanliness is essential if you want to make a good batch of this homemade antiseptic.

Remember to throw away any unused Dakin’s solution 48 hours after opening. Unopened jars can be stored for 2-3 weeks after you have prepared the Dakin’s solution.

Dakin solution precautions:

  • As with any medical solution, you should keep Dakin’s solution out of the reach of children.
  • If you use it as a mouthwash or to treat a dental abscess, do not swallow it
  • You shouldn’t use Dakin’s solution longer than one week
  • You shouldn’t use this solution if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
  • Stop using Dakin solution if your condition worsens or if you develop any type of reactions (like a rash)

I am not a doctor and this is a homemade remedy. Therefore I recommend you should research anything you read so you are assured of its use and the accuracy of the information provided. If it worked for me, it doesn’t mean it can work for you as well. You might be allergic to some of the ingredients or you might not use clean equipment.

Survival MD - A Must Have!I recommend seeing a doctor if you have:

  • Pain or burning sensation after using the Dakin solution
  • If the skin around the wound turns red and swells
  • A rash or itching sensation
  • If you develop hives or blisters
  • If you notice signs or symptoms of wound infection

This is a homemade antiseptic that is used by many and you should learn how to make it for when there is no doctor around. When SHTF, you will have to make good use of your knowledge and you should be able to improvise solutions that will heal you. Dakin’s solution will be beneficial when nothing else is at hand.

Again, as with a lot of the information that you find, it is well worth printing this sheet out and keeping it safe. That is because, when you need it, there is likely to be a severe lack of internet or electricity for you to find it. You will only remember about the solution, and probably not remember how to make it when the time comes! Print it, keep it in your first aid kit!

Other Resources:

The Lost Ways (Things our grandparents did to survive and thrive)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis)

US Water Revolution (A DIY Project to Generate Clean Water Anywhere)

Blackout USA (EMP attack extensive prepping guide)



13 thoughts on “Dakin’s Solution – An Old Homemade Antiseptic Revised For Today”

  1. I read this on another website awhile back, but here is an easier solution I heard about. Clorox Anywhere hard surface cleaner spray will do the same thing. Leave on wound several minutes then rinse. also good for pet wounds. Dakins is fine, this is easier and handy.

  2. You don’t say what strength to use for what. I would assume full is ok for cleaning, but what about an open wound? I wouldn’t want to burn someone in a bad situation.

    • You can use 1/2 strength solution on open wounds, twice per day. You can also test full strength solution on the wound, but you should apply it only once per day. Even more, to make sure you don’t affect the skin around the wound, you can apply petroleum jelly on the healthy skin.

    • My mother in law had a wound to come up on her foot. Required surgical intervention and a wound vac placed. At follow up surgical visit. Wound vac was stopped and derby dry dressing changes two times a day. Loose weave 4×4 gauze saturated with 1\4 strength admins solution. And as working in the hospital setting, I have used 0.0125 percent solution. These are two used that I have personally used. Follow your MD orders!

  3. One major omission to the formula – bleach is sold in different concentrates – that needs to be considered in mixing the solution …. you also need to be aware of the age of the bleach – it breaks down into water and will gradually lose it’s original concentrate percentage …..

  4. They still use this at hospitals for irrigating wounds and in surgery everyday. My husband had necrotizing fasciitis 4 years ago . for those of you who don’t know what that is, it is also known as flesh-eating disease. You still get Dakin’s solution from the doctor but I have made it on my own and won’t ever use anything else …it is the best !!!! It’s funny because you would think it would burn! If you tell somebody you’re putting bleach and water on your wounds they will think you are crazy, but it doesn’t hurt at all ! God Bless you all! !

  5. I have had multiple surgeries due to brown recluse spider bites. I had to use dakins on my wounds. They healed up really well. I would recommend this to anyone. I’ve even made it a time or two. I am type 1 diabetic I healed fast with using dakins.

    • You have to use a pan with a tight fitting lid. The idea is to not only heat the water to boiling, but to do so while water is under slight pressure (very little steam escaping) so that spores are killed (molds) as well as bacteria that might be in the water or the pan.

  6. Thank you for giving me the full formula for this solution. I first read about in a prepper book But it’s instructions were hard to understand.

  7. I’ve been using Dakin’s for about 50 years. When I was in the Navy during the Viet Nam era a chief told me that many marines caught viruses when wadding through the jungles that nobody in the US had never seen. He said to add bleach to water until it was slick to touch and soak for 45 minutes. Since that time I have kept a bottle of 5% Dakins constantly. I use it to sanitize, to put on wounds, etc. When it runs out, I just make some more and I keep it in an old Hydrogen Peroxide bottle.

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